“It’s raining like crazy”… Fans in the City of Brotherly Love were serious about baseball
“What’s the big deal about the rain, I can watch my favorite players to my heart’s content…”.
Fans living in Busan, the ‘baseball city’, were serious about baseball.
On the 15th, Sajik Baseball Stadium in Busan hosted the 2023 KBO All-Star Game. The 22,990-seat crowd cheered for the Nanum All-Stars (Kiwoom Heroes, LG Twins, KIA Tigers, NC Dinos, Hanwha Eagles) and Dream All-Stars (Lotte Giants, Doosan Bears, KT Wiz, Samsung Lions, SSG Landers).
Initially, it was unclear whether the game would take place. However, fans in Busan, which is hosting the All-Star Game for the first time in 16 years since 2007, were unconcerned.
Lee Jung-chan, a man in his 50s who lives in Dongnae-gu, Busan, told reporters before the game, “I don’t mind the rain. I can watch my favorite players to my heart’s content.” “I hope my favorite player, Noh Jin-hyuk (Lotte), becomes Mr. All-Star,” he said. Noh Jin-hyuk, who started at shortstop and batted seventh for the Dream All-Stars, missed out on the MVP award, but made Lee happy with a 2-for-4 performance.
Jeon Jeon-hee, a woman in her 20s who lives near Busan Station, also has a love for baseball. “I hope Han Dong-hee (Lotte) does well,” said Jeon, who said she started watching baseball in middle school because of “legend” Lee Dae-ho. Now that Lee Dae-ho has retired, I think Han Dong-hee is his successor. She looks so cute,” she smiled. Han Dong-hee also made her presence felt in the game, going 1-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs.
The All-Star Game was also characterized by a large number of fans with families. “I came with my wife and children when I heard that the All-Star Game was being held,” said Lee Jung-hyun, a man in his 40s from the western part of Busan. “My passion for baseball cannot be stopped by rain,” said Woo Moon-hyun when asked by a reporter about the possibility of rain.
The heavens, which have been dumping a lot of rain lately, seemed to be impressed by the fans’ wishes. It rained heavily until around 4 p.m., when a fan signing session was held on the field, but it stopped by 6 p.m., when the game started. Even afterward, there was a light drizzle, but it didn’t interfere with the game.
With so many fans in attendance, the players performed at a high level. In particular, Chae Eun-sung became the first player to hit a grand slam in an All-Star game in 41 years since Kim Yong-hee (Lotte) in 1982. He also added five RBIs to lead the Nanum All-Stars to an 8-4 victory, tying the record for most RBIs in an All-Star game (previously held by Han Yoo-seom of the SK Wyverns in 2019).
Chae Eun-sung, who had also won the home run race the day before with five arches, was honored as Mr. All-Star for his performance. This is the first time Chae Eun-sung has won both the home run race and the MVP of the All-Star Game.
There were plenty of highlights, too. Socrates Brito (KIA) appeared in a bowler hat and sunglasses, blowing a trumpet to his own cheer. Teammates Lee Woo-sung and Choi Jimin also put on a great (?) show with toy trumpets. Koo Ja-rook (Samsung) showed off his “beauty” with a long wig, and “old prosecutor” Noh Jin-hyuk (Lotte) came to bat in a prosecutor’s uniform.
The star of the show was Samsung ace David Buchanan. Dressed in a combat outfit reminiscent of Tom Cruise’s character in Top Gun, he saluted a video commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Korean War’s ceasefire that was shown midway through the game.
Buchanan pitched a complete game, 119-pitch shutout against the Gwangju Kia Tigers (Samsung won 4-1) on April 13. Realistically, he wasn’t going to pitch a complete game. Instead, he replaced Kim Hyun-joon in right field in the bottom of the eighth inning and made a clean catch of Oh Ji-hwan’s hit.
In the ninth inning, he came up to bat. It was runners on second and third, and on the mound was Go Woo-seok (LG), arguably the best closer in the KBO. But Buchanan didn’t hesitate. After a fierce six-pitch battle, he hit a single to left-center field, sending the crowd into a frenzy.스포츠토토
After the game, it was hard for fans to leave the stadium after seeing these players soak up the fun of baseball. They chorused the cheers of the 10 teams in unison, and even summoned the cheers of past players such as Lee Dae-ho and Jim Aduchi (former Lotte). In particular, when one fan shouted, “Baseball is Busan, Busan is baseball,” the fans behind him cheered as well. The fans who live in ‘Gudo’ Busan are serious about baseball.